Archive for February, 2010

Sunday Morning in Al Ain

In certain parts of the Middle East, people have a different reaction towards Sunday Morning tees.

I understand this guy sells them off the boot of his pick-up.

Sunday Morning tees are used to shield house guests from the blazing sun.

And the occasional camera shy tourist from passer-bys.

Sunday Morning in Phuket

Not a very Phuket-ish background but I’m told the others were not quite suitable for a family-friendly website. Photo taken in the swimming pool of a very nice hotel in Phuket.

Interactive tees from Nippon

Boyfriend arm pillow from ActiveForever. $32.95

Thanks to the good people of Japan, the world has seen the likes of karaoke, Hello Kitty, sumo wrestling, hardo gay, killer ninjas, kawaii turd dolls and vending machines flogging everything from real pearls to steaming hot ramen; to name a few. Then there are these interactive tees from shikisai.   

The designers take everyday scenarios and incorporate them into tees. Hence you have water coming out of the faucet, the loose shoe lace you tie and untie, sling bags, window blinds and more. Too cool. Too bad it’s not yet sold here in KL.

Shoulder bag tee.

The strap can either be slung over your shoulder or hung around the waist.

Bath plug tee.

With aluminium chain attached.

Faucet tee.

Satin ribbons sewn on to suggest water.

Vacuum cleaner tee. Yes, the hitch is on purpose.

Check out other designs here.

Remembering the forgotten people

The following piece was written in late 2001 and published in my church’s newsletter. I thought it might be good to post it online so as to remember our brethren up north. May His Spirit continue to teach and lead us to pray for the less fortunate.

Thy will be done

The faded, tear-stained photograph brings back warm memories. It seemed like only yesterday she held their tiny bodies close to her bosom. Last night, her eldest child called. He announced that he was going steady with another man. And that he’s moving out. Two months earlier, her daughter ran away with an older woman. Both children have grown up now, she reminds herself.

* * * * *

When was the last time he had a bath or a decent meal, nobody knows. All day long, he hobbles under the hot sun holding out a blackened, sore-infested hand. Where his eyes used to be, there are now bloody, gaping, pus-filled sockets. A bent, toothless old woman is holding his arm. She is his eyes. They make their way through the crowd begging for money.

* * * * *

A dusty, squalid road runs through the the main town. The residents live in dirty, single room shacks. Stay a while and through the windows, you’ll notice little eyes twinkling mischievously at you. Oh, there are plenty of children here – always loud, playful and terribly restless. But unlike most kids, their tiny noses are constantly swollen and itchy. Sniffing glue does that to you.

* * * * *

Her husband travels frequently. She tells everybody he’s having an affair and it’s true. But she doesn’t leave him because she’s afraid of being alone. And besides, there’s a 5-year old with the cutest smile in the whole world. Laughingly, she says she can’t control his behaviour either. She admits that she often screams and throws things at him. Once, late at night, the neigbours had to physically restrain her from strangling the little boy.

* * * * *

Two women meet each other at the playground. Old friends, they smile and sit on the grass while their children make a dash for the swings. Before long, the conversation comes around to their favourite subject: Husbands. The younger woman says she her man isn’t home. She doesn’t know where he is and he hasn’t called in five months. At least I know what my husband is doing, says the other. He’s spending the night with his mistress.

* * * * *

Last December, a group of us spent five days in Haadyai among these people. We sat with them, ate with them and listened to their stories. Ater that, we all went on our separate ways. I returned to an air-conditioned house, closet full of clothes and fridge packed with delicacies. My wife was waiting for me at the door. I thanked God that I am loved and that He has blessed me exceedingly abundantly.

Then I remembered the child sleeping in a small room shared by three families, the old couple who are probably rummaging through the garbage bins looking for food, and the young woman washing her husband’s mistress’s clothes.

Lord, what does it take to bridge the gap between the haves and have-nots? Between the hidden people and those who choose not to look? Between those who only know suffering, and those who know the suffering Christ?

I waited for an answer but He remained silent. After a while, I heard His voice. He was crying too.

The zodiac explained

Tai Tai Cat. CNY decoration at a local mall.

Happy CNY folks and welcome to the year of the metal tiger. Everybody’s favourite feng shui master Ms Lilian Too says that we should expect an “agressive, fierce and tough” twelve months ahead. Depending on which year you’re born I suppose. Am no expert but here’s my take on the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac:

Rat
Ox
Tiger 
Rabbit
Dragon
Snake
Horse
Ram
Monkey
Rooster
Dog, and
Pig.

According to legend, the whole thing started when the Jade Emperor invited all the animals to a race. The prize was a coveted position in the Chinese zodiac. The order in which they came thus determined their order in the calendar.

The rat was first, but not because it had the fastest legs. Rather, the quick-witted rodent sat on the ox’s head and jumped off to cross the finishing line just before its ‘taxi’ rumbled in. Meanwhile, the mighty dragon was somewhat delayed because it made a detour to help create rain for a draught-ridden farmland. The snake wrapped itself around the horse’s leg and, like the rat, slid off to reach its destination first. 

There are many versions to this story but for argument’ sake, let’s stick to this one. We can learn a few important lessons here:

1. Despite being the smartest, the rat is constantly fooled by the humble glue board.

2. The cat isn’t on the list because the rat told him that the race was a day later. Which is why they are enemies till this day. Meanwhile, the rat and the ox get along just fine. Of course, this doesn’t explain why the dog and cat are enemies. According to inside sources however, the mutt is and always has been a stooge of the rat.

3. The cheetah didn’t get the invitation or must have overslept, which explains why it looks pissed in every photograph.

4. The peregrine falcon, the world’s fastest animal according to Guinness, is also pissed.

5. If you race a horse and rabbit, the rabbit will win. Or maybe rabbits were built faster back then.

6. The race cannot be scientifically duplicated because nobody can locate a dragon.

7. Pigs can run faster than you think. In some American states, they grease a pig and then try to catch it. Hence the phrase ,”Slicker than a greased pig.” The Chinese on the other hand, prefer to grease a pig after they’ve caught it. 

8. Maybe you’ve read that email saying a pig’s orgasm lasts 30 minutes. Some people say it’s due in the part to the pig remembering it beat 98% of the other animals to make it into the zodiac. For the record, an orgasm is a mental not physical state – so scientists can’t really tell. Also, female pigs tend to fake it.

9. To coincide with the auspicious new year, the tiger dance was introduced in Malaysia. And in case you’re asking – there will be NO rabbit dances next year.

10. But there will be a dragon dance the year after.

~

Yours truly was born in the year of the rat. When I became a follower of Christ, I was born again in the year of the lamb. “Christ is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world” – John 1:29. Why a lamb? In those days, the poor lamb was a sacrificial animal that people put on the altar to ask God to forgive them of all the evil things they’ve done. The creature, in essence, paid the penalty for sin.

After a while, this kinda became routine and people weren’t really interested in changing their ways. So Jesus had to basically come down from heaven, show us the way and be the ultimate sacrifice once and for all. When we put our faith in Christ, we are saying to God “I’m really truly sorry for the wicked things I’ve done. You’re fair and just, and I know evil deeds cannot go unpunished. On the cross, Jesus took the punishment that was meant for me. I believe that and have now put my faith in Him. I ask Jesus to teach and guide me.”

Something like that. It’s not easy condensing the entire bible into two short paragraphs! And btw – a lot of you out there really love Jesus, it’s His fan club you can’t stand. I know. I understand. Forgive us. We’re working on getting our act together.

No more stains

An idea by Rob Libfeld, a medical student from the U.S. Tired of patients being embarrassed by their urine-stained, tire-marked underwear, he decided to take matters into his own hands. No-wash boxers was put together, using insulation that apparently conceals any odors that may be emanating from down below. I smell a winner here.

Chop Stick Wardrobe

Perfect for the retailer selling Cheongsams or similar Chinese-themed clothing. Chop Stick Wardrobe by Swiss Andreas Saxer is inspired by traditional Japanese wood joinery methods and the daily used chop sticks. Beautiful. Am wondering if it’s not too late to be a product designer …